Sometimes It's The Crazy Ones That Provide the Best Rewards

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

When Carol Williams and Anna Kruchten first announced their December Challenge that we write about Our Craziest Transaction, one transaction quickly came to mind.
It was early in my career in 1981, when a fellow agent sitting across the aisle from me, suggested that I list her neighbor’s house. I thought it odd, but also knowing they preferred working with buyers during that weak seller marketplace, I shook any un-benevolent thoughts aside.

The house I was to list belonged to a couple who had embarked on the adventure of divorce. Things were acrimonious between the two, and a court order had been imposed to sell the house. Mr. Seller was a Vietnam Vet, who had endured much during the war. Currently, he was working with firefighters during a robust wildfire season here in California. It wasn’t long after the home went into the MLS that a good offer was received. I contacted Mrs. Seller right away, and she was eager to accept the offer. However, I had difficulty reaching Mr. Seller on the fire lines. I finally managed to reach his supervisor, who advised that Mr. Seller was in a local hospital in the psyche ward. He had apparently, suffered a psychotic break, caused by depleted Lithium levels caused by heat he had endured fighting the fires.

Right away, I had concerns Mr. Seller may not be capable of contracting because of his condition. I called his attorney, who was representing him in the divorce. The response was, “Myrl, whether this client is capable of contracting isn’t your decision to make. Everyone wants this house sold. The Court has mandated it be sold. The Mrs. Seller wants it sold, and our Client wants it sold. Go get the signatures.” So oddly enough, I took a hospital elevator up to a psyche ward early on a Saturday morning, and met with Mr. Seller in his flip flops and hospital gown. I obtained his signature, and the transaction successfully closed.

What I have found amazing over the years, is the number of clients Mr. Seller has referred my way. It is a testament to the fact it is often the most difficult of transactions, which make us most valuable as real estate professionals - especially if transactions are handled with care.

Oh, and that agent who had referred this client to me . . . they refused to accept a referral fee. They understood what I had been up against and felt guilty they hadn’t disclosed ALL of the nuances of the dynamics this transaction would likely impose. They had been reluctant to list the home because of those dynamics, but were grateful I had handled it all with success!


Comments (22)

Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I recently went through something similar. Although, the psych patient was merely acting out her anger at her husband. So bizarre - and we did mange to close it, but I talked to doctors and lawyers to make sure she was just "acting."  I have it all in writing. :)   I LOVE your story though, and am so happy it ended well - and a great referral client too. How wonderful. 

Dec 07, 2019 11:15 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Myrl - it often pays not to know all the baggage that may be involved.  Good job. Good story.

Dec 07, 2019 11:43 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

Myrl. I enjoyed your story and it sounds like it worked out for everyone. 

Dec 07, 2019 01:56 PM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Myrl, for writing about this very interesting transaction.

Dec 07, 2019 02:10 PM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Such an interesting story, Myrl. Glad it worked out and that you have gotten more business from it. 

Dec 07, 2019 02:14 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Myrl that is a transaction that could have very easily have gone a very different direction.

Dec 07, 2019 03:46 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Myrl, this is a classic example of it was meant to be...

I would have been nervous about having him sign papers too. It was also very brave of you to go up to the psyche ward! 

I'm so glad it worked out for everyone and that good Karma continued to flow back your way as a result. What a story!

I sincerely hope this one gets featured. I have represented numerous couples in divorce and it always gets tough just before closing. You handled it like the pro you are!

Dec 07, 2019 04:07 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Myrl- That has to have been so difficult for all parties involved. You handled it in a very professional manner, but I'm not surprised about that!!!

Dec 07, 2019 05:08 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

All - Thank you for your kind comments.  They are appreciated!  There was stress associated with this transaction for everyone involved.  But, at the end of it, I was glad I had stuck with it!  As a newer agent back then, I learned a great deal in the process.

Dec 07, 2019 06:58 PM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Great job, Myrl, keeping everyone calm and seeing the transaction through, not easy I'm sure.

Dec 07, 2019 11:23 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

What an amazing story, Myrl. Goes to show... you really never know what might happen when you take on a listing or new client.

Dec 08, 2019 05:42 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Myrl Jeffcoat - What is the old saying..."All is well that ends well".  This certainly ended well for all parties involved.  Good for you!

Dec 08, 2019 06:35 AM
Lorrie Semler, REALTOR® in the Dallas area. Call/text 972-416-3417
United Real Estate - Addison, TX
Real Service. Real Results. Real Estate

That was one crazy transaction, pun intended! Glad you got the referral and that you got it done.

Dec 08, 2019 07:17 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Myrl,
Well, you put a literal spin on the Crazy Transaction Challenge! It just goes to show we never know where our transaction will take us. Sometimes it's the psych ward. There may even be a few Realtors® there. 

Hmmm. True or Fake? I'm guessing true... at least mostly.

Dec 08, 2019 09:51 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat

Yes, the story is absolutely true! 

Dec 08, 2019 10:34 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Myrl:

That is quite a complex story. Glad it all worked out for everyone concerned. You certainly made the right decision to contact the attorney.

Great entry for the Challenge this month.


Dec 08, 2019 05:32 PM
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

That is so true and I learned that very early on from someone that I considered not working with, but I was very glad that I did.

Dec 09, 2019 06:50 AM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Oh I would have been wary as well. Sometimes when working with older clients who are clearly entering dementia stage, I try to pull in another family member for POA.  Glad your deal worked out!

Dec 09, 2019 11:30 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Myrl, sounds like you handled this listing perfectly.  Divorce can certainly add a new layer of stress to a transaction.

Dec 15, 2019 07:43 AM
Jane Chaulklin-Schott
TEAMCONNECT REALTY - (407) 394-9766 - Orlando, FL
TeamConnect Luxury Homes - Orlando, Florida, 32836

Myrl Jeffcoat, this was a very interesting story and I stayed riveted to the  story throughout.  You handled it so well and at times you must have felt you were on shaky ground, and yet you brought it to a nice closure.  You were key to helping a couple who needed your professional assistance.  Good Job!  

Dec 16, 2019 09:51 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

I find the advice from Mr. Seller's attorney to be worrisome. Yet, it all worked out well for all parties. This transaction and the ensuing history of your relationship with Mr. Seller are testimony to your professionalism.

Dec 22, 2019 09:21 AM